K. Dev, Bharat Times

A throw to the stumps deflected off the bat of a diving Ben Stokes as he tried to complete a second run and raced to the boundary.  Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena awarded six runs for that which was meant to be 2 runs for running between the wickets by the batsmen and 4 runs for the overthrow ball hitting the boundary.

Ben Stokes who knew they had not managed to complete the second run, held up his hands apologetically after getting 6 runs from the umpire. The match, being ICC World Cup 2019 final had high voltage drama from the very first ball and the way it ended speaks volumes of the importance of a mistake – of even a miniscule size.  Who could tell if the correct umpiring would have made any difference.

What the hell…?

And now the umpire in question, former Sri Lankan Test player Kumar Dharmasena has admitted to the mistake in an interview, saying he should have awarded 5 and not 6 runs for that particular ball.

Speaking to the Sunday Times in Colombo, Dharmasena  has admitted he made an “error” and should have given one run fewer. One run fewer, which was to be the correct score for England looks a lot more significant and critically important when one looks at the fact that 3 balls later the scores of both teams  -at 50 overs were tied.  England reached 241-10 replying to New Zealand’s 241-8.

If the nail-biting final was not the pressure cooker stuff for the viewers, going into a Super Over – in a World Cup final – which again was tied – gives the feeling of relentless pressure for all involved.

In the end England managed to lift the trophy by virtue of having scored more boundaries.

Simon (James Arthur) Taufel, a former Australian cricket umpire has said England should have been awarded five runs, not six, as the batsmen had not crossed for the second run at the moment the ball was thrown.

For his defence, umpire Dharmasena said in the interview with the Sunday Times that he did not have the benefit of television replays which showed the batsmen had not crossed.

“I agree that there was an error of judgement when I see it on TV replays now,” Dharmasena, who was umpiring the final with South Africa’s Marais Erasmus, told the Sunday Times.

“But we did not have the luxury of TV replays at the ground and I do not regret the decision I made.”

Dharmasena confirmed he signalled six after consulting the other match officials. “So, I did consult the leg umpire (Erasmus) through the communication system which is heard by all other umpires and the match referee.”

“While they cannot check TV replays, they all confirmed that the batsmen have completed the second run. This is when I made my decision.”

Taufel however told Fox Sports Australia the umpires made a “clear mistake” as the batsmen had not crossed for their second run.

But the Australian umpire also defended the match umpires, who he said had to make a complicated judgement. He further said it would be “unfair” to say the decision altered the outcome of the tournament as it was impossible to know what would have happened in the final balls had five been awarded.

For some people his defence of the umpires may be questionable.

“How can one not know – of the batsmen had crossed or not – as their ends would have changed”, asks Ramanpreet, a critic fanatic and an Indian cricket tragic who is still overwhelmed with India’s loss int he semis.

Whatever the result, ICC World Cup 2019 will be remembered for many wrong reasons for quite some time.


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